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(Cercarial Dermatitis; Duck Fleas; Duck Itch; Duckworms; Sea Lice; Clam Digger's Itch)
- Swimming or wading in warm fresh or salt water
- Swimming or wading in warm shallow water near the shoreline
- Long periods of time in the water
- Previous episodes of swimmer’s itch
- Swimming in locations with onshore winds
- Swimming in areas with a lot of birds
- A sensation of burning or tingling
- Small red bumps, blisters, or pimples
|Blistering Skin from Swimmer's Itch|
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- Soothing baths and cool compresses
- Over-the-counter cortisone creams and anti-itch medications
- Oral antihistamines—for more severe itching
- Apply a barrier lotion with broad-spectrum sunscreen product before going in the water.
- Avoid swimming or wading in known contaminated waters. Also try and avoid areas of water with a lot of birds or marshy areas where there are snails.
- Rub your (and your child’s) skin with a towel after coming out of the water.
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Parasites—Cercarial dermatitis (known as swimmer’s itch). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/swimmersitch/index.html. Updated January 10, 2012. Accessed July 29, 2014.
Swimmer’s itch. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aocd.org/?page=SwimmersItch. Accessed July 29, 2014.
Swimmer’s itch. DermNet NZ website. Available at: http://www.dermnetnz.org/arthropods/swimmers-itch.html. Updated December 29, 2013. Accessed July 29, 2014.
Verbrugge LM, Rainey JJ, et al. Prospective study of swimmer’s itch incidence and severity. J Parasitol. 2004;90(4):697-704.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 07/2014